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Thomas fire getting closer to Santa Barbara - my thoughts with friends who have been affected by this.

Latest coverage on The Santa Barbara Independent:
https://www.independent.com/news/thomas-fire/

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Refreshing startup funding-related concepts:

Model Equity Calculator for Founders with Option Pool Expansion
http://seedcamp.com/resources/model-equity-calculator-for-founders-with-option-pool-expans...

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Interesting report here - read only summary, surprised by number of US tech startups at 171K (much lower compared to other definitions I've seen):

How Technology-Based Start-Ups Support U.S. Economic Growth
http://itif.org/publications/2017/11/28/how-technology-based-start-ups-support-us-economic...

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16 Lessons Learned Bootstrapping Kinsta From $0 to 7-Figures in Revenue
https://kinsta.com/blog/bootstrapping-startup/

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"Traders will be forced to disclose their identities, ending the anonymity that has made the currency attractive for drug dealing and other illegal activities."

Bitcoin: UK and EU plan crackdown amid crime and tax evasion fears (The Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/04/bitcoin-uk-eu-plan-cryptocurrency-price...

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Afghan Girls Robotics Team Takes Home A Top Honor In European Contest (NPR)
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/30/567454795/afghan-girls-robotics-team-ta...

When their visas to get into the US were finally approved to participate in the run-up competition, the ended up placed 114th, higher than the teams from the U.S. and U.K.

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IP and VC: A Framework for Funding Disruption of the Intellectual Property Markets
https://www.kauffmanfellows.org/journal_posts/ip-and-vc-a-framework-for-funding-disruption...

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Pioneering Physicist Enrico Fermi on the “Utility” of Science, the Aim of Knowledge, and Our Ultimate Responsibility to Nature
https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/11/27/enrico-fermi-science-utility/

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I've been looking for some data on number of active entrepreneurs at any given time, worldwide. I'm surprise how difficult to find this, particularly considering that there are institutions looking a this such as Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (by the way, this kind of data, number of entrepreneurs, should be displayed right on the frontpage of the institution). This is one of the sources I found:

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/323586-the-worlds-582-million-entrepr...

The most recent report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is here:
http://www.gemconsortium.org/report/49812

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Finding some inspiring and interesting readings on Paul Graham's website:
http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html

Snapshot: Viaweb, June 1998
http://www.paulgraham.com/vw.html

Viaweb's first business plan
http://paulgraham.com/vwplan.html

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Estonia is considered an example of a country with successful digital government policies. Among other initiatives started in the 1990s, the country started educating people to use computers and program them. It also implemented a mandatory digital citizen ID to offer digital government services, limiting required in person visits to government offices only for marriage, divorce and house purchases. Should do some more research to learn about this whole policy experience (particularly thinking of privacy concerns with regards to the mandatory ID).

This blog post could be a good start:
e-Estonia: The power and potential of digital identity
https://blogs.thomsonreuters.com/answerson/e-estonia-power-potential-digital-identity/

Also:
Concerned about Brexit? Why not become an e-resident of Estonia
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/estonia-e-resident

Some research:
E-residency and blockchain
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0267364917300845

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The Human Machine Reading List: Recommended reads on our relationship with technology (How We Get To Next)
https://howwegettonext.com/the-human-machine-reading-list-a17980149d1e

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UBI is just a bedtime story Elon Musk tells himself to help the super-wealthy sleep
https://qz.com/1024938/ubi-is-just-a-bedtime-story-elon-musk-tells-himself-to-help-the-sup...

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Saving for future reference:

Paul Armer's testimony to US senate on the privacy & surveillance implications of digital payment (1968)
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/papers/2013/P3822.pdf

(found thanks to: https://twitter.com/Suitpossum)

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Very interesting read on finances, hedge funds and cryptocurrencies, featuring Robin Hood Coop, an activist hedge fund run by anarchic artists:

The Heretic's Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money, by Brett Scott
http://suitpossum.blogspot.com.ar

Robin Hood Coop
http://www.robinhoodcoop.org

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Reading about Quid Inc's (YouNoodle back then) 2009 prediction on 50 startups. Info on this 2009 challenge is kind of lost in the web, so I'm trying to learn more before posting about it.

Quid has been asked about this again, and here is the list of 50 startups that will make history:

A computer was asked to predict which start-ups would be successful. The results were astonishing.
http://amp.weforum.org/agenda/2017/07/computer-ai-machine-learning-predict-the-success-of-...

These Are the 50 Most Promising Startups You’ve Never Heard Of
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-fifty-best-startups/

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Reviewing some outputs from my NSF-funded innovation prizes research, part of my doctoral dissertation work at Georgia Tech. This is one of them - a poster that summarizes some findings of my research on the Google Lunar X Prize, the Ansari X Prize, and the Northrop Lunar Lander Challenge. You can find the full resolution version of the poster here: http://prizeresearch.org/publications/
You'll find some other interesting resources on www.prizeresearch.org, check it out if you are interested in prizes.

/201711/929_poster-scisip-kay-2012-3600-.jpg

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As I read some older posts, I realize that many links don't work anymore. Sorry, not my fault really. If you want to report a broken link, I'll be happy to look into it and find the updated link.

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7+ years ago: concerns about Google collecting personal location data: http://www.nadaimportante.org/902/

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Checking the Challenge.gov resources web page:
https://www.challenge.gov/toolkit/resources/
I don't see any reference to academic work, that's interesting... It'd be nice to see empirical evidence among all those resources.

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A few years old, but still current. Most interesting: mega trends in intellectual property; also, a few bits on startup opportunities in the IP space: https://www.kauffmanfellows.org/journal_posts/ip-and-vc-a-framework-for-funding-disruption...

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Posting from a new server. Glad to be back!

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For future reference, another study on universities and innovation indicators:
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/which-universities-are-the-most-innovative

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Webinar archives: Engage and Innovate with Challenges and Challenge.gov

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MapLight - revealing money's influence on politics

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Interesting stuff in the Journal publishing reform about open journals, etc. Focused on Math, but may be inspiring for other sciences too! Other relevant reading is the Research Works Act of 2011 (H.R. 3699)

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MIT Technology Review: Undermining China's Monopoly on Rare Earth Elements. See also the Critical Materials Strategy (PDF) report.

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Congratulations! :) Kay Awarded IBM Center Funds

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Return of blood samples to Brazilian tribes

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U.S. Businesses Report 2008 Worldwide R&D Expense of $330 Billion: Findings from New NSF Survey

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Interview with Harold Varmus in Seed Magazine: "The impact factor is a completely flawed metric and it’s a source of a lot of unhappiness in the scientific community."

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There should be limits to the collection of personal data: Please explain: why Google wants your Wi-Fi data

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TechCrunch: "Remember Those Red Darpa Balloons? We Helped Find Three Of Them"

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Senators Introduce "Start-Up Visa" Legislation

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The other way around? This is another (very interesting) example of civil technologies that find military application. Why Does the Air Force Want Thousands of PlayStations?

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In Wired: Google Introduces Real-Time Search. Looks great... see it in action here. It would be nice to have the same feature for Google Shopping!

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DARPA Network Challenge

The recently announced DARPA Network Challenge sought to explore "the roles the Internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems". The challenge was to locate ten moored red weather balloons located at ten fixed locations in the continental United States, offering a $40,000 prize reward for that. The competition took place on December 5th. These are only some thoughts on the challenge, drawing upon some sources I recently read.
How would was the incentive to compete? Well, I do remember very enthusiastic comments from some participants (unfortunately, I did not save all the links to those websites—here is just an example). Beyond the interesting focus of the prize from the sponsor's research point of view, it is interesting to see how a simply defined prize target and, probably most importantly, $40K attracted so many people to the competition--4,000 participants as reported in http://twitter.com/DARPA_News ( @DARPA_News on Twitter ) or about 300 teams as cited in MSNBC. For regular people, $40K is good money, particularly in crisis time—and the costs of participating do not seem to be so high. However, I do not think that the extent to which participants considered this an achievable target or participated for other reasons is known (and this may be an important aspect when designing the right incentives in prizes). DARPA may have collected more information on this.
@DARPA_News reported that the competition leveraged the effort of at least 4,000 participants (o details on how those participants contributed to achieving the prize target or about their activities). The same source reported only 120 submissions for the position of the balloons by 1:31pm on Dec 5th; and the MIT Red Balloon Team was announced winner when there were only 30 minutes left before grounding the balloons that day. I did not find any comment on the MIT team website about how they worked to win the competition. But I did find something very interesting about how they tried to engage more people to participate. They implemented a scheme to share the prize reward based on the people participation: those who provide correct data on the location of balloons and those who invite them to participate would share the prize reward with the MIT team.
For sure, the competition has had different outcomes. In principle, DARPA has successfully attracted (again) the attention of the media and lots of people. Moreover, I really would like to read about how successful the collection of data for their experiment was. That was the primary goal of the competition. Probably not all participants benefited from their participation, yet some of them have probably learned more about their interests or how to apply their knowledge for other purposes related to the prize challenge. Surely, networking between participants has been another outcome.
Did the prize challenge look simple, yet it was too difficult to achieve? Well, in principle, there was a winner, so the challenge was achievable (I do not know the specifics on the needed technologies). From the point of view of the sponsor’s goals, it looks that the target was well defined, considering that the prize challenge was achieved with only few minutes left before the competition deadline! In other words, that probably had elicited the greatest possible effort from the participants.
Overall, this is another interesting case that shows how prizes can be used for very different purposes and engage lots of people in the meantime.

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Increasing access to public data is being replicated at the local level as well: NYTimes: Local Governments Offer Data to Miners

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Pending since some time ago: Barack Obama Loves Startups: New Federal Office for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs

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On the topics of this blog

If this is the first time you visit this blog, you first need to know that it has been very difficult to keep the site updated. I started the blog in 2004, when I was still living in Santa Fe, Argentina. The blog was very active during its first two years of life, but then, in 2006, I moved to Atlanta, GA to start my Ph.D.... I has spent a lot of time in front of the computer since then, but no time for blogging though.
You will see that "Blog on entrepreneurship, technological innovation and venture capital" (at the top of the page) still reflects the main contents of this blog in its early days. I am still interested in those topics (indeed, my research is related to those topics) but the blog now has a much broader coverage (and it is bilingual, partly to keep an archive of all the Spanish content already created).
Hopefully, I will continue writing on those topics, so come back regularly if you share the same interests. In particular, I may share some thoughts on the topic of my dissertation, inducement prizes and their effect on technological innovation (which is even more interesting!)

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A short article about the process of creating a new company has been recently published by Nature: Start up and succeed. For those that do not have too much knowledge about the process, it is interesting. It is oriented toward scientists who want to create a company, so it includes a few paragraphs on university spinoffs.

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ScienceWorksForUS has data on stimulus research projects across the US and profiles with money invested and research organizations for each state.

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I did not check it in detail yet: Time Magazine published a list of top-50 inventions of 2009 along with some related stuff too. You may find some interesting things there.

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9th Annual Roundtable for Engineering Entrepreneurship Research (REER), Oct 13-15, at Georgia Tech!

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Prizes and the US innovation policy

Interestingly, prizes are suggested as “high-risk, high-reward policy tools to solve tough problems” in the white paper A Strategy For American Innovation: Driving Towards Sustainable Growth And Quality Jobs (which describes the new President Obama's innovation agenda). However, prizes are not widely used yet. Targeted federally-funded prizes have offered total rewards worth only about $50 million since 2004, first year of prize implementation for US agencies (see Federally Funded Innovation Inducement Prizes). That figure may increase notably in the future if, besides those targeted prizes, prizes with purchase commitment are used.

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Some media coverage of the recently announced MIT Clean Energy Prize 2010 (MIT offers cash for top clean energy idea - Boston Herald) and related (Using Prizes to Drive Energy Innovation - NYTimes)

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More prize money, more innovation?

Prizes for innovation are not new, but are increasingly attracting everyone’s attention since a few years ago. It is difficult to know how many innovation prizes have been offered, for example, in the last five years.

The idea that prizes can induce innovation has been more supported by recent practices than theory. Although academic research has contributed knowledge to this area, most of the attention has been paid by the broader economics literature on mechanisms to encourage innovation, where prizes are analytically compared with patents and other incentive schemes. We know little about how prizes work in practice.

That is the main reason why I decided to focus my doctoral dissertation on innovation inducement prizes. In particular, my research looks at how teams respond to prize incentives, perform R&D activities, and come up with innovations. Hopefully, in the near future, I will be able to provide some insights on how (and to what extent) prizes induce innovation. In the meantime, I will try to post more comments on this and keep my blog updated!

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"We live on a planet that is now generating more than 43,000 gigabytes of data per day"
-Wired Aug. 2009

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Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship: More Recommendations Supporting VC-Backed Firm Access to SBIR-STTR (blog post)

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ScienceDaily: "A new study describes a method through which a selected set of memories can be rapidly and specifically erased from the mouse brain in a controlled and inducible manner."

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Diario de un
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